New York Knicks: The overlooked greatness of Bernard King

Bernard King, New York Knicks. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Bernard King, New York Knicks. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
New York Knicks
New York Knicks Head Coach Hubie Brown. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

In King, they trust

Dave Debuscherre became the chief executive of the New York Knicks in 1982. He made some huge changes to the organization. Hubie Brown took over as head coach, beginning with the 1982-83 season, taking over for Red Holtzman.

Along with Holtzman, out went Michael Ray Richardson, Maurice Lucas, Campy Russell, and Randy Smith, all double-digit scorers. In came King, Rory Sparrow, Len “Truck” Robinson, and Trent Tucker. Center Bill Cartwright remained the Knicks focal point, but as the season went on, King became the team’s “Go-To” player.

That season, the Knicks made it past the first round of the NBA Playoffs for the only the second time in nine years. For his part, King led the team in scoring with 1486 points (21.9 per game). Additionally, he finished third in minutes 2207 (32.5). Not bad considering mid-season injury forced him to miss 14 games.

The following season, 1983-84, King continued his development. In 34.6 minutes per night, he averaged 26.3 points, good for fifth in the NBA. January 31, 1984, was somewhat of a tipping-point to his season.

He put up 50-points in a win against San Antonio. Two nights later, he made it back-to-back 50-point performances when the Knicks won again in Dallas. Those games were the start of a big scoring run by King. In 20 games, he put up 24 or more points, 18 times including, over 30 or more, 14 times; 40 or more, six times: and the double 50s. King averaged 34.2 points-per-game from January 31 – March 6.

The Knicks once again bowed out in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, this time to Boston. Even so, the fans could feel something great building, and King was at the forefront. And then it all unraveled.